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THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED H.R. 3021, THE 21ST CENTURY GREEN HIGH-PERFORMING PUBLIC SCHOOL FACILITIES ACT, BY A VOTE OF 250-164.

This is a tremendous victory for public schools, educators and children. The legislation authorizes $6.4 billion annually to help state and school districts address school conditions that compromise learning and teaching. The bill also creates more than 100,000 well-paying construction jobs and supports AFT efforts to promote green, sustainable schools.

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ECONOMY AND MONEY TOP CAUSES OF STRESS FOR AMERICANS

Psychologists Recommend Staying Calm in Uncertain Times
WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As talk of falling housing prices, rising consumer debt and declining retail sales bring up worries about the nations economic health, the American Psychological Association (APA) finds that many Americans are stressed and anxious about their financial future. An APA poll on the causes of stress reports that two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans identify the economy as a significant source of stress in their lives. Three-quarters (75 percent) are stressed by money and more than one in two report that housing costs are causing them stress (56 percent). In addition, almost one half of Americans (48 percent) report that job stability is a significant cause of stress. Click here to read more

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AFT ANNOUNCES LOWER RATES FOR OCCUPATIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE

For the second year in a row, the AFT has been able to negotiate a reduction in the rates that local affiliates pay for occupational liability insurance. In July, the rate will drop to 40 cents per member per month, a 10-cent reduction from last year. In 2007, the rate was reduced from 60 cents to 50 cents. As AFT secretary-treasurer Nat LaCour noted at the recent AFT executive council meeting, where the unions budget for the next fiscal year was approved, the rate reduction will free up some revenue at the local level for affiliates to address their own local priorities.

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HOSPITAL WORKERS RATIFY CONTRACT WITH HAHNEMANN

Members of District 1199C of the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees AFSCME, AFL-CIO ratified a four-year contract agreement with Hahnemann University Hospital that calls for a 16.8 percent increase in wages and benefits. Click here

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TECHNOLOGY TOPS AGENDA FOR AFT HEALTHCARE DIVISION LEADERS

The impact of technology in healthcare was a major focus of discussion for AFT Healthcares program and policy council, which met May 20-21 in Washington, D.C. Frontline health professionals are critical to the successful adoption of health information technology, and the council believes that healthcare locals must make sure their members have a say in the implementation of that technology. The council discussed the need to develop tools and resources to help healthcare affiliates become actively involved in selecting and monitoring new technologies. The division leaders also had a chance to see the new Web site for AFT Healthcares online continuing education courses for health professionals. During the meeting, Steve Francey, the executive director of RNs Working Together—a coalition of AFL-CIO nurse unions that includes AFT Healthcare—shared the groups accomplishments and plans with the council.